Getting Tense About It

| Learning | June 9, 2014

(I’m in English class and have just received my graded essay from my teacher. The essay is written in present tense, but I notice my teacher has written ‘verb tense consistency’ above the word ‘has.’)

Me: “Mrs. [Teacher], my essay is written present tense, like I was supposed to. What is the problem with my verb tense here?

Teacher: “Oh, well before you were writing in present tense, then you switched to past tense here, and then went back to present. You have to be consistent.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but which verb is written in past tense?”

Teacher: “Right here! ‘Has’ is past tense.”

Me: “‘Had’ would be past tense, but I wrote ‘has,’ which is present tense. Am I missing something?”

Teacher: *pauses* “Well, I guess it can be present tense, but sometimes it’s past tense. I didn’t take points off for it, so it doesn’t matter anyway.”

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